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History of Ocala


One of the earliest people to inhabit this area was the Timucuan Indians. While their exact location in Marion County remains unknown, the Timucuan’s largest village was called “Ocali.”

When the United States purchased Florida from Spain in 1821, the rich lands were perfect for the American farmers’ needs, and in spite of attempts by the Indians to live in peaceful co-existence, troubles began, and the United States embarked on a long and costly struggle to remove the Indians.

After the Second Seminole War in 1842, the “Armed Occupation Act” encouraged settlers to move into Florida with an offer of 160 acres of free land.

On March 25, 1844, Marion was chosen as the name for the county, and Marion County quickly became the hub of a rapidly growing state, thanks to the abundance of tobacco, rice, sugar cane, cotton and cattle.

 In 1846, the county seat was planned and named “Ocala.”